J.J. Watt

jj-wattEven though offensive players such as wide receivers, running backs, and especially quarterbacks get most of the attention, anybody who really knows their football is well aware that it’s actually good defenses which win football games. Granted, the Houston Texans are off to a rough start in 2015, but that’s not to say that their star player defensive end J.J. Watt isn’t having a great year so far.

They call him the “milk man”, and this nickname is well deserved. He never fails to deliver.
High School and College
Although he stood out as both a tight end and a defensive end while at Pewaukee High School in his native Wisconsin, J.J. Watt was not heavily recruited by major university football programs.

He accepted a scholarship from Central Michigan University, but after an unremarkable season in 2007 playing tight end, he gave up his scholarship and transferred to the University of Wisconsin. There, he made the team as a walk on, and after spending the 2008 season as a red shirt, he was moved to the defensive end position where he excelled during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Watt was selected 11th overall in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft by the Houston Texans.
Awards
J.J. Watt has been terrorizing offenses since his rookie year in 2011, and he has won the award for best defensive player given by the sports writers of the Associated Press twice, in both 2012 and 2014.

J.J. Watt is only one of eight defensive players who have won this coveted award, with the other two time winners being linebacker Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants, defensive end Reggie White of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers , linebacker Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens, defensive tackle Joe Greene of the Pittsburg Steelers, linebacker Mike Singletary of the Chicago Bears, and defensive end Bruce Smith of the Buffalo Bills. Needless to say, J.J. Watt is in good company, and if he goes on to win the award for best defensive player for a third time, he will be in a class all his own as the first player to do so.

In fact, when J.J. Watt won the AP Award for the second time in 2014, he won so unanimously, and received all 50 votes from the Associated Press sports writers. Watt also received the second greatest number of votes amongst AP writers for the MVP award, receiving 13 of the 50 votes. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ended up winning the 2014 AP NFL MVP award with 31 of the 50 votes. The only defensive players who have won the MVP award are Lawrence Taylor and Alan Page.
Statistics
J.J. Watt made NFL history in 2014 when he recorded more than 20 quarterback sacks in a single season for the second time, having done the same in 2012. The most sacks ever recorded in a single season was 22.5 in 2001 by Michael Strahan of the New York Giants.
Even though his statistics are extremely impressive, they do not present a complete picture of J.J. Watt as a player. He puts incredible pressure on quarterbacks, and forces many to hastily toss up incomplete passes. Simply put, quarterbacks, other ball carriers, and offensive lineman tremble in fear when they see the lean and imposing 290 pound 6 foot 6 inch frame of J.J. Watt chasing straight after them at speeds that are incredible for a defensive lineman. Watt runs a 40 yard dash in 4.84 seconds, and as a rookie at the NFL combine in 2011 his performed amongst the best in all categories. His vertical leap, for instance, measured over three and a half feet. This amazing combination of speed, agility, and strength makes Watt an absolute threat on the football field.
Both Sides of the Ball
J.J. Watt scored 5 touchdowns in 2014. He recovered a fumble and ran in it 45 yards for a TD against the Indianapolis Colts, and he took an interception 80 yards into the end zone in game against the Buffalo Bills.

However, J.J. Watt scored his three other touchdowns during the 2014 season as an offensive player. Yes, the Houston Texans coaching staff know they can put their extremely athletic and versatile defensive lineman in on offensive as a tight end when they want to startle and confuse opposing defenses.

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Payton Manning

Peyton Manning: NFL History

Peyton Manning is among the most prevailing quarterbacks in the NFL history and he has won several MVP awards. He also led Indianapolis Colts to Super Bowl XLI victory. He was born in 1976 in New Orleans. He is a son to a former NFL quarterback, Archie Manning and an older brother to Eli Manning, a New York Giants quarterback. Peyton is among the best passers in the NFL history having won MVP award five times and having led Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.

His early years

Peyton Manning spent his earlier days in Louisiana. He is the second boy in a family of three boys and a son to the former NFL QB Archie Manning. He is also an older brother to the New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning. Stirred up by a competitory fire which surpassed that of his brothers, Peyton seemed doomed to be a greater quarterback since his earlier days at school. At Isidore Newman High School, Peyton led the school’s football squad to setting a 34-5 record – throwing for over 7000 yards – and in the senior season, he was seen as the best football recruit in the nation.

And in 1994 (in the fall), Peyton enrolled in University of Tennessee where his dominance continued. In his four year career, he burned opponents with a bigger arm and dead on precision setting an amazing 42 conference, NCAA and school records. And in all, he registered 863 completions, passed for 11201 yards and he connected for 89 touchdowns.

Alongside his physical gifts – 6’5”, 230 pound – he also developed a great reputation as an edacious game student who took time to watch films and analyze his opponents.

His NFL success

In the year 1998, Indianapolis Colts selected him with first overall pick in the NFL draft for a dealership whose the recent years were set by difficult luck and higher loss totals although Manning was rapidly hugged as a savior.

His rookie year was very far from perfect. Bouts of struggle often followed moments of brilliance as Manning experienced expected growing pains. He established new NFL completion records of 326, 575 attempts, 26 touchdowns as well as 3379 passing yards. He also managed to throw NFL leading 28 interceptions for the team that highly fought for a 3-13 finish.

The early lumps soon yielded a way to another level of success which was largely unmatched in the history of the league. In 13 years that followed, Peyton became arguably the best quarterback of the game and a face of the high-powered Colts team which regularly contend for NFL’s top record.

After Manning won the first ever MVP award in the year 2003, he recaptured the award another three times: in the year 2004, 2008, 2009 and the year 2013 therefore he became the 1st NFL player to ever achieve such a distinction. Furthermore, he holds an honor of being the quickest player to ever pass 50,000 career yards in addition to 4,000 completions.

He was later dogged by suggestion within the first ten years of his career that he could not win big games. But in the year 2007, he managed to silence his critics after he tumbled his long time rival –New England Patriots and the quarterback Tom Brady – in AFC title game. He then proceeded to beat Chicago Bowl XLI. In Super Bowl, he threw for 247 yards and was also identified as the game MVP. And in addition to the athletic exploits, he has proved to be valuable outside the field due to his comedic timing. He has also appeared in a number of peculiar television commercials for MasterCard, Sprint, Gastorade and some other brands.

Neck surgeryPeyton_Manning

For the first thirteen seasons in his career, he highly avoided injuries. But on 8th September 2011 his season was derailed after doctors did an operation on him. They repaired a nerve in the neck which had caused weakening of the throwing hand. This was his third surgery in a period of 19 months and which cost him a season.

His comeback

He resumed his career at the beginning of the 2012 season. And he led the league to the completion percentage while he still guided the Broncos to AFC West title. He was also appointed the AP comeback player of that year.

In that season, manning started the year by connecting a league record with 7 touchdown passes in a single game. He proceeded to deliver vast numbers after every week. And by the end of that season, he had reached 55 touchdowns, 5,477 passing yards which easily earned him the fifth MVP award.

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Tom Brady

Tom Brady: From Pick 199 to Greatest of All Time

Tom Brady is a polarizing figure in today’s NFL. His talent is simply undeniable; so much so that many fans, including a substantial chunk outside of the Patriots’ fan base, consider him the greatest to ever play the game. Others, however, focus on a much more negative light, tying a moderate portion of his success to cheating, most notably this past summer’s absurd ‘Deflategate’ scandal. But regardless of how you perceive Brady, one thing is for sure: his NFL career is nothing short of incredible.

 

tom-brady

Every Patriots fan knows the story of when Brady was finally drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, 199th overall. As the story goes, Brady walked up to Patriots team owner Robert Kraft before the team’s first training camp practice, and said to him: “Mr Kraft, my name is Tom Brady, and I’m the best decision this team has ever made.” This was obviously a very cocky thing to say, especially considering that Brady was nearly cut by the Patriots during that first training camp. After all, Drew Bledsoe was the star quarterback and face of the Patriots franchise, and it seemed that there would never be a chance for Brady to start for New England.

By the start of the 2001 season, Brady had worked his way up the depth chart to second string behind Bledsoe. Still, Brady was virtually guaranteed to never see the field unless Bledsoe was injured. Late in the team’s Week 2 game against the Jets, that’s exactly what happened. Bledsoe took a monstrous hit from Jets linebacker Mo Lewis and suffered a severe chest injury, forcing him out of action for several weeks. Of course, he never again regained the Patriots starting quarterback job.

After Brady won his first NFL start the following week against Peyton Manning and the Colts, he only took off from there. Brady posted an 11-3 record in his 14 starts, leading the Patriots to the playoffs and earning his first Pro Bowl nod. In the playoffs, he led the Patriots on a 10-point comeback win against the Raiders, shocked the 14-2 Steelers at home, then led an improbable 2-minute drive to beat the heavily-favored Rams in the Super Bowl.

His 2002 season was not too shabby statistically, although he only threw for 18 touchdowns, but the Patriots went 9-7 and missed the playoffs. To this day, it is the only season with Brady under center in which the Patriots did not win double-digit games or make the playoffs. But he rebounded well in each of the next two seasons, winning the Super Bowl in each. In that 2003, the Patriots were written off after only two weeks, including an embarrassing 31-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills. But Brady was able to rebound, and he did not lose a game for the rest of the season – the Patriots even beat the Bills 31-0 in the final regular season game for revenge. Once again, Brady needed a big Super Bowl drive to beat the Carolina Panthers, and he delivered, setting Adam Vinatieri up for another Super Bowl-winning field goal. 2004 also ended in a Super Bowl victory, although no Vinatieri field goal was needed. Rodney Harrison intercepted Donovan McNabb to seal the Patriots 24-21 win and 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years.

Unfortunately for Brady, his 9-0 playoff record wouldn’t last. The 2005 Patriots were beaten in the divisional round of the playoffs by the Broncos, and in 2006, Brady took an awful Patriots team all the way to the AFC Championship Game, where he was beaten by Manning for the first time in the playoffs. Brady had beaten Manning both prior times, in 2003 and 2004.

The next season, in 2007, the Patriots took the league by storm, when they would pressure wash the competition right off the field. A loaded offense which had added Wes Welker and Randy Moss was nearly unstoppable. Brady broke Manning’s single-season touchdown passes record with 50, 23 of which went to Moss – also a single season record, and their 589 total points became a new NFL record. Brady also won his first MVP award. The team finished 16-0 in the regular season, although their perfect season hopes were dashed in the Super Bowl by the New York Giants. The next season, Brady’s season ended early in the first game, as a dirty hit by Bernard Pollard resulted in a torn ACL, ending his season.

Brady rebounded fairly well in the 2009 season, leading the Patriots to a 10-6 record even while his knee was still healing. They were beaten in the Wild Card round, however, by the Baltimore Ravens. In 2010, a new Patriots offense featuring rookie tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez led to an energized Brady, who threw for 36 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, winning his second MVP award, as well as posting a 14-2 record. Yet once again, the Patriots’ Super Bowl hopes were prematurely dashed by the New York Jets. The following season, Brady once again led the Patriots back to the Super Bowl, only to lose again to the Giants.

In 2012 and 2013, the Patriots made the AFC Championship Game, but lost both times. In each season, the team suffered significant late-season injuries, to cornerback Aqib Talib in 2012, and to Gronkowski in 2013. It seemed like Brady would never get back to the Super Bowl.

Last season, Brady was written off by most of the main media outlets after only four weeks. The team’s 2-2 record was unacceptable, and rookie Jimmy Garoppolo was being touted as the new starter. Brady responded by setting the league on fire, only losing one game for the remainder of the season, and leading a comeback victory against the Ravens in the divisional round, before throttling the Colts in the AFC Championship Game. Of course, the Deflategate scandal broke out shortly thereafter, attempting to disrupt the team before their Super Bowl match-up against the Seattle Seahawks.

In the Super Bowl, Brady was faced with a daunting task. Down 24-14 heading into the fourth quarter, Brady had to lead two touchdown drives against arguably the best defense ever, and did so without skipping a beat. While it took Malcolm Butler’s improbable, Super Bowl-winning interception to seal the game, Brady had willed the Patriots back to victory, winning his fourth Super Bowl and, in the eyes of many, cementing his legacy as the greatest of all time. All this success for Brady started back on draft night in 2000, when the Patriots took a chance on a scrawny kid from Michigan with the 199th overall pick.

 

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Demarco Murray

NFL’S Demarco Murray

DeMarco Murray is one of NFL’s most colorful players with many accolades and achievements to his name. Having began his career back in high school Murray has held his stand in football to become a professional player and now stars at Philadelphia Eagles after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. Murray was born in February 1988 and went to Bishop Gorman High School in LV, Nevada. There he played football, basketball and track but it is in football that he shone. He won All-state honors and was picked three consecutive times for the All-conference besides winning Sunset Region award for player of the year. As one of the best running backs in his class, Murray attracted several offers from Penn State, Miami Florida, and Texas A&M among others. However, he chose Oklahoma at the 2006 All American bowl and wore the Oklahoma Sooners redshirt in the NCAA after joining college. Some of his records in university of Oklahoma include the following;

 

  • All-Time points top scorer with 390 (record surpassed in 2014)
  • All-Time Touchdowns (65) leader
  • All-Time All Purpose Yards covered leader (6,718)
  • All-Time Receiving Yards covered by a Running Back (1,571)
  • All-Time Kickoff Return average leader (27.6) hi

 

Professional NFL Career

After playing football in high school and college, it was almost certain Murray would end up as a professional athlete. His records and honors already had the spotlight on him and his first major break come in 2011 when he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. Murray was drafted in the third round as the sixth running back and signed a four year deal contract worth $2.97 million in addition to a $622,000 signing bonus. His first season in 2011 began on a high as a third string running back where he bagged 14 carries for 39 rushing yards and 3 receptions for 16 receiving yards in the first four weeks. When Felix jones went down with an ankle injury facing New England Patriots, Murray took the opportunity and finished the day with 11 caries for 34 rushing yards and 1 reception for 7 yards. The next weeks showcased just how industrious he could be and ended with setting new records and coming close to breaking others. He ran 253 yards on 25 carries against the Eagles in Philadelphia (to break the 237 yards record) which included a 91 yard rush in the first quarter. His average of 10.1 yards per carry was the highest for a rookie with the club and the 10th most rushing yards in the league. He ran a couple more 100+ yards and led the rookies averaging 5.5 into the 2012 season.

The second spell had a few milestones including an injury that kept him six matches out. However, he still managed to run over 600 yards with 163 carries to finish the season on a high note. In 2013, he ran over 175 yards two consecutive times and set new records for the club. In the same year, he appeared in his first major Pro Bowl since joining in 2011. 2014 was perhaps the most spectacular year of the player. He began by breaking Jim Brown’s record of 100+ yards in the first 6 games by adding two more weeks to run over 100 yards in 8 consecutive weeks at the start of the season. Although he broke his arm and had to play on a bandage, he still made it to 12 games rushing over 100 yards and finished the season as the league’s top rusher. It was also hos second straight season where he ran 1000 yards.

In 2015, Murray agreed to a five year deal with Philadelphia Eagles on a contract worth $42 million. Unfortunately, he has failed to impress at the club since joining and a series of injuries have kept him out most of the time with his replacements performing way better. His only impressive run was a 30 yard rush in the first quarter in week four although he ended with 8 carries for 36 yards.

Conclusion

Despite a few struggles in the 2015 season, DeMarco Murray is a prolific talented athlete and his excellence in the field cannot be oversight. He is expected to return to his brilliant form that was seen in his days with the Cowboys. He is also a father of a daughter and is engaged to his wife. Hopefully, Murray can get back to those 100+ rushes to spur the Eagles into great seasons ahead in his 5 year contract period. His rise will definitely be a big inspiration and boost to the team.

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Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers’ Journey to the NFL Championship

December 2, 1983 was the day the great NFL star, Aaron Charles Rodgers was born. In the quiet Sacramental valley north of Chico, California, Aaron Rodger found himself between his two brothers, Luke and Jordan. Their father, Ed was a chiropractor but had a history of playing football and earning all-conference honors at Chico State. Aaron Rodger’s mother was a dancer. It is now evident where the great player acquired his nimble feet. All through his childhood, Aaron Rodgers grew alongside his two brothers. He loved football; obsessed is a better word to describe that love.

When he was only three, he would sit through a complete football game and get bubbly when he saw San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana make the pitch a wonderland. He was able to learn formations at the age of five and would use his home-made pitch, a hanging tire to practice his newly acquired football skills. With his two brothers always pushing him with the spirit of competition, Aaron Rodgers did everything to defeat them. All of Mr. Ed’s sons loved football but the father would not allow them play until high school. In spite of this regulation, Rodger’s love for football discovered a loophole. He would organize games at recess and play Little League baseball. Though he had a scrawny body, he used it advantageously. During warm-ups, he would lob the ball as the opposing teams watched to lure them into thinking that he was a soft spot. As soon as the game started, he would unleash his fastball.

Aaron-Rodgers

All through his high school and college life, Aaron Rodger’s love was football. It was not easy for him though, mainly because of his size. Being a 185 pound, six-foot-one young man would not get him easy entry as a quarterback. Most colleges preferred larger sizes. This led to him almost giving up football in 2001. Luckily, Craig Rigsbee, the Butte Community College football coach asked him to join his team. It is there that he built his body and skills and his potential was proved. He led the Roadrunners to a 10-1 record in 2002. That was his first season there. Later, University of Chicago offered him a scholarship. He set many records including a 10-1 regular-season record while he was still in junior year.

After his junior year, Rodgers was listed as a top-five pick to enter the 2005 NFL draft. He had to forgo his senior year as the Green Bay Packers selected him as the 24th draft pick. During that year and the following season, he did not play much. It was not until the 2007 season that his name slipped the tongues of many when he took over from Favre who had an injury. The Packers were down by 17, and it was the second quarter. Aaron Rodgers completed 18 passes, cutting the deficit to three points, but not lucky enough to pull out a win.

During the first game in 2008, Rodgers took his place as quarterback. He delivered a 24-19 win, passing for 178 yards. The following week was a good one too, as Rodgers passed for 328 yards and 3 touchdowns, besting the Detroit Lions. Through a lot of questioning about his ability to fill Favre’s shoes, Rodgers trudged through the season. The Packers however recorded a 6-10 defeat making 2008 a losing season.

He faced the 2009 season with a lot of hope. The first game of the season was tough. Packers were trailing behind the Chicago Bears and the clock was quickly ticking away. However, Aaron Rodgers managed to pull through and deliver a 21-15 victory. The Green Bay Packers finished the season with an 11-5 record. During the 2010 season, Rodgers and the Packers delivered a 10-6 regular season record. When the playoff started, he completed 71% of his passes and brought victories over the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bulls. These victories earned him his first Super Bowl appearance. He passed for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns, delivering a 31-25 win over the Pittsburg Steelers. His ability to follow Favre’s footsteps was becoming evident. His performance also earned him Super Bowl MVP honors.

In the first 13 straight games during the 2011 season, the Packers recorded victories. They lost once to the Kansas City Chiefs in their 15th week. Heading into the playoff, things were not as usual. They were beaten 20-37 by the Giants, making their hopes of a second Super Bowl appearance faded. They had an early exit from the playoffs, but Rodgers maintained the all-time NFL pass rate record of 122.5. He also set new records for passing yards, interception percentage, touchdown passes and more.

The 2012 season was a good time for the Packers. Rodgers led them to set an 11-5 record through the regular season. He also recorded the first home playoff victory when they played against the Minnesota Vikings with a 12-5 win. Aaron Rodgers was signed to a 5-year, $110 million (the highest in history) contract extension in 2013. He was pressured up to take his team back to the Super Bowl and took the challenge with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately, he suffered a collarbone when playing against the Chicago Bears in week 9. On his return to the field, he helped the Packers to bag a 33-28 win and a trip to another playoff game.

Aaron Rodgers entered the 2014 season in good health, focusing on making a return to form. His leadership saw the Packers set a 12-4 record. They recorded a 26-21 against the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs and earned a berth in the NFC Championship where they played against the Seattle Seahawks. They Packers lost to the Super Bowl champion however.

 

 

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